Sports 2000 Enduro – Round 3 – 3rd October 2014
The final endurance race of the year was to be at the fabulous French circuit of Dijon in mid France. Clive and I had decided to make the most of the trip and had entered the 200km Martini Trophy race as well which caters for an eclectic mix of Sports racing, GT and Touring cars. I was particularly looking forward to pitting ourselves against the 300 hp Chevron B21 and LolaT290.
We were also joined at the circuit by the ADI guys complete with new company bear mascot!
Qualifying was dry and after some tweaks to the set up I managed to get the car down into the 1.21s which was 3 seconds inside the old Duratec lap record and enough for pole. We had decided that I would race the first 30 minute race and Clive would race the second thirty minute race on the Sunday.
It was decided by the officials that we would have a rolling start as opposed to our usual standing start. The pace car led us round and an unbelievably slow pace and I was concerned the tyres wouldn’t be up to temperature for the first big braking area at the end of the straight.
We droned along the lap start finish straight and I though the pace car was going for another lap when in flamboyant French style he dived into the pit lane at the last possible moment so it was going to be race on. The red lights went out and I got an absolute flyer to comfortably lead into the first corner with David Houghton and Nick Bates challenging Alaric Gordon for second place. I got my head down and pulled a good gap on the first lap whilst the others held each other up fighting for the second spot. The car was handling well and the times got better and better resulting in breaking the lap record on lap 4 with a 1.21.629.
It was all going well and I was just starting to lap slower traffic when on lap 9 the throttle cable broke so into retirement for the first time in 2014……
Clive was next up in the hot seat for the second race although he had to start from the back due to my retirement in the first race. He was greeted with monsoon like conditions with the race being delayed due to flooding on the track!
Clive took it cautiously for the first few laps due to the wall of spray from the cars in front but as the race settled down he began to pick cars off one by one. David Houghton had hit the front and was drifting off into the distance but by half way Clive had pegged the gap and began to catch up.
With 10 minutes to go Clive was in 10th place but really beginning to eat into the gap of the cars in front with me giving him the “whirly arm” hurry up from the pit wall. The next few minutes were a blur as Clive began to eat into the lead of everyone as much as 5 seconds a lap on some occasions!
It was going to be touch and go but with a lap to go he caught Nick Bates for second place and passed him on the very last lap – what a race!
Pole, Retirement, Second, Fastest Lap
Martini Trophy 200 km race
This race was also split into 2 halves with Clive and I doing half each.
We qualified in second place just behind the Chevron B21 but were looking forward to a big battle in the race with the more powerful car hoping to take advantage of better grip and brakes in the twisty second half of the Dijon lap.
It was thoroughly wet for the race start which Clive took and held the car steady in third place with the Chevron and the Lola battling it out for the lead. We swapped over halfway through and I slowly began to reel the bigger cars in as the rain continued.
I finally caught the Chevron with a couple of laps to go and slithered past him round the outside of the double apex left hander out the back. It was spectacular to hear the howl of his engine as he tried to hit back but struggled to get his mighty horsepower advantage down onto the road. It was fantastic to cross the line in first which would mean pole for the second half of the race.
The second half on the Sunday was very delayed due to the atrocious weather conditions and the more powerful cars had decided not to race due to the conditions which was a shame. Clive again took the start and handed over to me in just as the rain stopped which was great!
I took the chequered flag with Brian Mullarkey and Alaric Gordon in second in the Carbir
Win, Win, Fastest Lap.
What a fantastic weekends racing with great food and hospitality from the circuit organisers and as always great support from the ADI team and the bear!